Sanford Biggers, Zoe Leonard, and Dozens of Other Artists Are Among the Winners of the Prestigious 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship

The annual awards are given to 175 scholars, artists, and thinkers.

Sanford Biggers is among the latest winners of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Photo: Jeannette Montgomery Barron. Courtesy of Square.
Sanford Biggers is among the latest winners of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Photo: Jeannette Montgomery Barron. Courtesy of Square.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has named the 2020 recipients of its prestigious fellowship.

Among the 175 winners, which includes literary critics, scholars of religion, filmmakers, poets, and researchers and artists in various fields, are dozens of visual artists, including the interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, the photographer Zoe Leonard, the video artist Steffani Jemison, the performance artist Clifford Owens, and Ellen Lesperance, who worked primarily with knitting.

Other winners include the filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, who was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial; A.L. Steiner, the cofounder of Working Artists and the Greater Economy (WAGE); and Chris E. Vargas, the founder of the fictional Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art and a participant in the New Museum’s “Consciousness Razing: The Stonewall Re-Memorialization Project,” which marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

This year’s winners represent more than 50 disciplines and artistic fields, nearly 80 academic institutions, more than 30 states, and two Canadian provinces.

The fellowship is awarded annually to mid-career professionals who have “already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

About 3,000 applications are reviewed each year, and more than 18,000 winners have been named since 1925. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $375 million to fellows.


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